Planning and organizing a celebration or event can sometimes feel more like a project deadline than a special date on the calendar. Enter the start of online event planning Meragi, which serves as a one-stop-shop for everything needed to organize an event.
“Planning a celebration like a wedding should be an experience to be enjoyed and savored,” says Abhinav Chandran, co-founder of Meragiin a conversation with Your story. “But in reality, you have to deal with the hassle of discovering, evaluating and finalizing suppliers and designs in seven to eight different categories,” he adds.
To make matters worse, more often than not, only half of your expectations are met.
In April 2021, Abhinav joined his former colleagues Lakshminarayan B (Laksh) and Mukund Mohan Raj start in Bangalore.
What is the platform for?
Meragi was founded with the vision of simplifying celebration planning by digitizing the entire event planning process. On its platform, customers can browse multiple catalogs, as well as collaborate and plan their special day according to their budget. The platform functions as a central resource for finding custom decorations, catering, makeup, and more.
“To help customers browse and select the right products and services, we provide a dedicated scheduler at no additional cost,” says Abhinav. With online tools and 3D visualizations, planners help clients find the best solutions for their celebration.
With a background in sales and marketing, the trio pored over the Meragi idea for months before taking the plunge.
“We then boarded a wedding planning expert (Roseline David) and hired a strong team of designers, architects and 3D artists, and now we have almost 20 people in our team,” he adds.
The trio have previously worked with Livspace, solving the problem of organizing the interior design industry. While Lakshminarayan managed Livspace’s sales department, Mukund was the chief operating officer, and Abhinav was the company’s chief product officer. During this process, they had realized that some of the solutions they had developed there were very relevant to weddings and event spaces, which they found surprisingly similar to the interior industry.
“After speaking to friends and family who had recently married, and through our own experience as well, we realized there was huge scope to modernize this industry which, despite being a very large market, has seen little development for the benefit of the end customer,” explains Laksh.
He further explains that during COVID-19, people chose to spend less due to the cap on the number of attendees, and preferred to plan the ceremonies and attend the event virtually.
“Our offering focuses on value designs rather than expensive high-end designs. Thus, we are perfectly placed to meet the needs of customers who are looking for designs that are as easy on the wallet as they are on the eyes. Additionally, as part of our digitization efforts, we are doing all interactions online and virtually, eliminating the need to meet in person, and this has been a big hit with our customers where over 90% of our interactions are currently all online. adds Laksh.
Mukund says the challenge was to break into an unorganized industry and keep selling products, services and solutions in one transaction. To digitize this, the key was to set up a structured catalog and list all products, services and solutions in one place with standard prices that facilitate consumption for our customers.
In addition to a virtual catalog of designs to choose from, Meragi uses tools to customize designs according to customer requests. It also uses 3D visualization tools allowing customers to view the exact design before placing the order.
Market and competition
According to multiple reports, the global virtual event platform market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% during the forecast period, to reach $18.9 billion in 2026. compared to $10.4 billion in 2021.
Some of the space players include Hubilio, Zuddl, and Airmeet, to name a few.
Although he is quite young, the platform has booked more than 80 customers and organized more than 50 events to date. Mukund adds that the platform targeted working professionals who didn’t have the time or the exorbitant budget for lavish ceremonies like weddings.
But the team also understands its challenges. “Building something like this without previous experience in a similar market is quite difficult because the model itself is very new with very few startups such as Livspace launching it successfully,” he says.
Funding and future
Meragi raised $620,000 in a seed funding round led by venture capital firm Venture Highway. The round also saw the participation of the founders of Livspace – Ramakant Sharma and Anuj Srivastava.
Inasmuch asThe platform saw 40% monthly growth in customer acquisition. Its gross market value (GMV) also exceeded $500,000 in seven months of operation.
The team expects to raise funds worth more than $50 million over the next three to four years to exceed annualized revenue of $100 million. With the launch of its official app in the first half of 2022, Meragi plans to diversify and deepen the digital event planning ecosystem.
(With contributions from Sindhu Kashyaap)